Riding the Rails

Somewhere between Milwaukee and Chicago

7:32 AM I’m on my way to Chicago for my Korean Visa Interview. I’m wearing the same suit and tie as I wore for my JET Interview at the Atlanta Japanese Consulate over 4 years ago. Thankfully I can still fit in my clothes from 4 years back, I know I can’t say the same for many of my friends.

An interesting phenomenon occurs when I don a suit. I just feel better. More confident, more mature, and ready to get down to business. However, I still feel like a bit of a poseur in a suit. To quote from High Fidelity, “I felt like one of those guys who shaved their heads and then claimed to always be punks.” I guess I’m just not used to the idea of being a grown-up in the business world. None of my friends have to wear suits to work, and I never have had to on any consistent basis.

For only the second time in my life, I’m taking a train in the U.S. The $44 round-trip fare seemed reasonable compared to the 3+ hours I would have spent in traffic, finding a parking space, etc.—particularly when I would have had to spend around $40+ on gas/parking/tolls. I generally like riding trains, and if it were a more affordable option, I would love it. I might be in the minority as far as public transportation goes, but I think this country needs a massive overhaul. How nice would it be to be able to have high-speed, inexpensive, reliable trains in this great country? Well, at least I’m going to a land that sees the value in public transit. Maybe America will catch up someday.

1:41 PM Back on the train to Milwaukee. That was a nearly pointless visit to the Korean Consulate. I was in and out in under 15 minutes, the interview couldn’t have lasted longer than 10. I interviewed with one other guy, Walker, and he asked us three questions: our name, our quest, and our favorite color. Kidding. He asked us: what is bringing us to Korea, what are our career plans after Korea, and what is our motto? I liked the last question, if only for originality. I’m sure he gets enough of the same answers for the first two questions (i.e. “Uh, I’m going there to teach and then I want to go back to school for my masters or PhD.”), so he probably just did it for variety’s sake.

My answer to the motto question was the family favorite, “It will come.” I don’t know if this is actually my motto because I seem to be fairly impatient and spontaneous with life, but it sounded good and it was the best I could do when put on the spot.

Other than that, Chicago was absolutely sweltering, especially whilst wearing a suit. Walker wore an old polo and some jeans, I both respected and hated him for it. Even the man doing the interview had gone sans suit jacket, but I guess it’s better to overdress than the alternative. OK, it’s nap time, been a long day…

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